photo manipulation by nacrowe
there is something to be said about that brief transition period at the end of high school when the world is seemingly opening up yet becoming more complex. TERRY ZWIGGOFF's GHOST WORLD (GRANADA FILM, 2001) really nails the feeling of that era completely, and i should know since this film came out right at that very moment for me.
as a senior in high school i found myself in northern CALIFORNIA living with a relative in the aftermath of 9/11 and very much felt that my experience abroad gave me a different perspective than the parochial concerns of white-bread middle AMERICA. i'll admit it, i looked down on SACRAMENTO. in some ways i still do.
the two outcasts played by THORA BIRCH and SCARLET JOHANSSON, based on the DANIEL CLOWES' graphic novel of the same name, are over-educated and underachieving and encounter life with a joking, sarcastic distance that is as much about fear and insecurity as it is about late-teen bravado.
what makes this film click are their encounters with STEVE BUSCEMI's middle-aged character who is a seeming loser in love, career and life in general and whose immeasurable pain gives him a real gravitas that essentially brings BIRCH into his orbit. she is like a vampire feasting on his despair but ultimately that backfires.
there is a FLANNERY O'CONNOR short story i have been attempting to find that has a similar plot in that a man pursues a woman he doesn't find attractive only to fall in love and have her leave him. been looking for a title on that one for a few days now, but can't locate it as of yet. that sort of push and pull is very much at the heart of GHOST WORLD and i would argue all adult relationships.
that conflict between fantasy and reality and coming to terms with life and reality for what it is, not what it should be.
great film. worth checking out definitely.